Strategy One

Improve Total Compensation, Recruitment, and Retention of Faculty and Staff

In the past several years, state funding to the university system has declined dramatically. The impact on Henderson required non-classified staff and faculty to go without across-the-board increases for three of the last six years. The salaries and increases for classified staff are dictated by state law but have also been adversely affected by lower state revenues resulting in no increases for two years and state pay-plan policies which did not accurately account for years of service. Non-competitive and compressed salaries are detrimental to recruitment and retention. Currently, search committees are finding our entry level salaries are not competitive and qualified candidates have turned down job offers due to the low salary offered. In 2007-2008, 20% of our full-time employees met the age and years of service criteria for early retirement eligibility. Of the 107 employees offered the voluntary early retirement plan of 2007, 34 retired. As this group of employees continues to retire, it is critical to retain and motivate our remaining faculty and staff and new hires. This strategic initiative is intended to implement a comprehensive study of the salaries and benefits of Henderson faculty and non-classified staff compared to the selected set of comparable and competitive peer institutions using nationally recognized compensation studies conducted by the College and University Professional Association-Human Resources (CUPA-HR), American Association of University Professors (AAUP), and other professional organizations, taking into account local cost of living and other relevant factors. Classified staff salaries and benefits will be reviewed within the regulations set forth by the Arkansas Office of Personnel Management and compared to other public Arkansas Institutions of Higher Education. Results from these studies will be used to make recommendations which will be proposed through the formalized system of shared governance.

Action and Elements

  1. In the 2014-15 academic year, conduct a comprehensive study of our salaries, benefits, and salary compression data measured against a selected set of comparable and competitive peer institutions, taking into account local cost of living and other relevant factors.
    • Utilize faculty and staff representation from all Henderson colleges as well as representation from the Faculty and Staff Senates and administration in a steering committee to work with three sub-committees which will each focus on the particular data, policies and practices relevant to the responsibilities and norms of the positions to be studied with each group:
      • Steering Committee members should include the Provost and Vice-President of Academic Affairs, Vice-President of Finance and Administration, an experienced statistician, a member of the Fringe Benefit Committee, and representation from the Affirmative Action Office, the Business Office, Human Resources, Assessment and Research, Computer Services, Faculty Senate and/or the Faculty Senate Finance Committee, and Staff Senate.
      • Sub-committee 1: Faculty Compensation Committee to study compensation issues of both 9-month and 12-month full-time faculty.
      • Sub-committee 2: Non-classified Staff Compensation Committee to study compensation issues of all non-classified positions, including administration positions.
      • Sub-committee 3: Classified Staff Compensation Committee to study the relevant Arkansas Office of Personnel Management regulations and the pay differential practices used for classified positions at comparable and competitive peer institutions in Arkansas.
    • Within the position category to be studied by each committee, the members would
      • Use nationally recognized compensation studies conducted by AAUP, CUPA-HR and other professional associations or Arkansas Office of Personnel Management regulations as appropriate to evaluate salaries and benefits by discipline, rank, or position and other parameters as identified in the committees.
      • Identify 9-month and 12-month full-time faculty and staff impacted by salary compression.
      • Investigate benefits offered at studied institutions and survey campus community for interest in items such as employee assistance programs, job sharing, and telecommuting.
      • Propose recommendations for changes supported by study data.
  2. Develop an achievable implementation plan, based on realistic projections of revenues. Faculty Senate has recommended the university engage an independent budget consultant to identify ways that funds may be reallocated to cover pressing university needs, particularly the improvement of salaries. The implementation plan will address, but is not limited to, the following:
    • Increase salaries for 9-month and 12-month full-time faculty to reduce compression between ranks within disciplines.
    • Increase salaries for full-time non-classified staff to reduce compression between supervisors and subordinates.
    • Implement a program to compensate classified employees who meet the criteria for pay differentials as approved by the Arkansas Office of Personnel Management.
    • Increase the total compensation for 9-month and 12-month full-time, benefit-eligible faculty so total compensation meets the average total compensation reported for similar positions at the selected set of comparable and competitive peer institutions, taking into account local cost of living and other relevant factors.
    • Increase the total compensation for full-time, benefit-eligible non-classified staff so total compensation meets the average total compensation reported for similar positions at the selected set of comparable and competitive peer institutions, taking into account local cost of living and other relevant factors.
  3. Conduct a study of turnover data to determine our trends compared to a selected set of comparable and competitive peer institutions.
    • Identify reasons for turnover, including and beyond salary, and make recommendations for retention.
    • Using data from the turnover study and compensation committees develop a plan to establish entry-level competitive salaries to be utilized for recruiting new faculty and non-classified staff.
    • Develop a plan to establish competitive salaries to be utilized for recruiting and retaining qualified adjuncts.
    • Develop a method to accurately track voluntary and involuntary turnover by job categories as listed on the “Great Colleges to Work For” Survey Questionnaire.